Rafa Nadal's startling confession in $26 billion sporting crisis

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Rafael Nadal, pictured here following his loss at the Madrid Open.
Rafael Nadal waves to the crowd following his loss at the Madrid Open. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal has joined a chorus of top tennis stars to express concerns about the upcoming Olympics, admitting he's no certainty to play in Tokyo.

Japan has extended a state of emergency in Tokyo and three other areas until the end of May as the country battles a surge in COVID-19 cases.

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The crisis has raised new questions about whether the rescheduled July 23-August 8 Games should go ahead, which has reportedly cost Japan a staggering $26 billion.

Nadal, who won singles gold in Beijing in 2008 and added a doubles title in Rio eight years later, said he is yet to firm up his plans on travelling to Tokyo.

"I don't know yet. Honestly I can't give you a clear answer because I don't know. I don't know my calendar," Nadal told a news conference at the Italian Open in Rome.

"In a normal world I'll never think about missing Olympics. There's no doubt about that. 

"Everybody knows how important it has been for me to always play in the Olympics.

"Under these circumstances, I don't know. Let's see what's going on in the next couple of months. 

"I need to organise my schedule... In a normal year, I know my schedule almost 100 per cent from January 1 until the end of the season."

Rafael Nadal, pictured here after winning gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Rafael Nadal celebrates winning gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka also non-commital

Japan's top-ranked men's and women's players - Kei Nishikori and Naomi Osaka - have also raised concerns about staging the Games amid the pandemic.

"This year is a bit different, no? We need to be flexible," Nadal said. 

"We need to adapt about things that are happening."

On Monday, Serena Williams said she was undecided about going to the Olympics, especially if it meant spending an extended period away from her three-year-old daughter.

"I haven't spent 24 hours without (daughter Alexis Olympia) so that kind of answers the question itself," said the American, who has won four Olympic gold medals, a record she shares with her sister Venus.

Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams, pictured here at the 2020 Australian Open.
Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams are also unwilling to commit to the Tokyo Olympics. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

"I haven't really thought much about Tokyo, because it was supposed to be last year and now it's this year.

"And then there is this pandemic and there is so much to think about.

"Then there are the grand slams. It's just a lot. So I have really been taking it one day at a time to a fault, and I definitely need to figure out my next moves."

Osaka earlier told the BBC: "I'm an athlete, and of course my immediate thought is that I want to play in the Olympics.

"But as a human, I would say we're in a pandemic, and if people aren't healthy, and if they're not feeling safe, then it's definitely a really big cause for concern."

The Olympics, postponed from 2020 because of the coronavirus, are due to run from July 23 to August 8.

with agencies

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